Egocentric Words

People laugh when you try to push a pull door. Irony laughs when you can’t remember the number for Directory Inquiries. (It’s 118 500 if you’re willing to fork out £1.69 per minute.) Language laughs when you fail to pronounce “inarticulate” correctly. And sometimes language, either as a display of its vivacity or in an attempt to lure more innocent speakers into becoming comedy material, invents words which talk about themselves. Word is a word. Pentasyllabic is five-syllabled. English is English. And awkwardnessfull is just that. We have been given a gift. You and I can become Magicians who use words to pull hats out of rabbits. Don your cape, open your mouth, and conjure Abracadabra out of thin air. Spoken is dull and disinterested, but say it aloud and suddenly it describes itself. Orange grows a new personality when written orange. Next time you’re on a train, wow your audience by bellowing “interruption” at the top of your voice. The Magic even spills over into your “mispellings”. Though if you intend to misspell misspell, is it misspelled? Are you in control of the performance, or is it controlling you?

Drum-roll please. Prepare for the featured act. Things could get out of hand. Words which manifest their own meanings are called autonymns. If autonmyn is an autonmyn, then it is an autonmyn because it describes itself. That’s always true. If autonmyn isn’t an autonmyn, then it isn’t an autonmyn because it doesn’t describe itself. That’s also always true. A word with dual-existence. A double tautology. (Let’s call it a tautonymn!) Two contradictory states which are both always true. The Magic is there and not there at the same time. Paranormal is taken to a higher level. The academics call it the Grelling–Nelson, semantic self-referential paradox. I think Sorcery is more apt, it does a better job of describing itself. So use your words, but use them with awe. The mystery and the intrigue is far from finishe…


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